Older women are more likely to take up exercising and stick to it if they are part of a small group guided by a personal trainer.
Although older women are not eager to exercise, it is important that they do given the rise of chronic lifestyle diseases such as type-2 diabetes. These conditions can be treated by medication or through lifestyle interventions – one of which is exercise.
Older women generally avoid exercise, making the excuse that they are embarrassed or that they do not have the time or money. However, we have found that once these older women join programs, what motivates them to exercise changes over time. And the relationship that they build up with their trainers is key to maintaining their participation in exercise programs.
Previous research has shown that women are less likely to adhere to their exercise regimes than men. It has also found that despite the benefits of exercise, older people throw in the towel sooner than younger people; and that within these two categories, post-menopausal women are especially problematic.
But in the case of the third point, our research finding differed.
The push and pull factors
We undertook our study to understand the factors that positively influence older women to exercise.
We monitored the attitudes of a group of women, aged 50 to 75, over six months. Three times per week they did 45 minutes of moderate strength training with a trainer. This workout consisted of ten multi-joint and multi-muscle exercises.
Before the program started, the women filled out questionnaires about their motivation. Every four weeks they were quizzed again. (Post continues after gallery.)
However, as the weeks went by, it was the relationship they had created with the exercise partners in their small group and with the personal trainer that made them return.